5 Numbers That Influence Our Life in Unexpected Ways

  • March 31, 2010
  • 64,730
  • Science
  • Image Sources
4.

Seven

seven

There is no other number as connected to both our short term as well as our long term memory as seven. Renowned psychologist George Miller proved in a monumental article that our short term or working memory is only capable of retaining 7 objects before it starts ignoring new information or forgets older knowledge. In other words if anyone would tell you 10 names and ask you to write them down you could only remember seven. This has been proven over and over in countless experiments with the average variation being a maximum of two (that is some people might remember 2 more items or 2 less.)

Even more interesting are studies showing that our long term memory is also affected by the number seven. We tend to remember new information much longer after we heard it seven times. There seems to be something about this number that activates our neurons in very specific ways. Marketing researchers have even argued that products with prices ending in 7 instead of 9 will sell better. For some reason $2.97 seems more appealing than $1.99.

5.

Zero

zero

Nowadays zero doesn’t seem like a very important number; however it took millions of years before it could be invented and its creation changed the field of mathematics. The truly revolutionary aspect of zero is the concept behind it. Alone it represents the absence of numbers, but it can be used to multiply one number exponentially. Basically, zero is a different concept depending on where it’s used in a number. This system of is called a positional numeric system and allows for incredibly more complex computations than a fixed system like the Roman numerals. Not only can we discuss about an impossible concept like the absence of numbers, but we can increase numbers into infinity, all thanks to zero.

Here is a quote from famous mathematician George Halsted which shows how important zero is not only to mathematics, but to all of modern civilization.

“The importance of the creation of the zero mark can never be exaggerated. [..]No single mathematical creation has been more potent for the general on-go of intelligence and power.

Written by Jack Mendoza – Copyrighted © www.weirdworm.com Image Sources

Image sources:

  • - Dunbar’s Number.: http://c2.api.ning.com/files/6hTqMzqOhI03yfoGIEeXr553JzpST4IzI6anbezYhbpd5nNNJ*P1b8JSNgvl*WOHGm1LQo1bhLO-AwxVdDl77de3kmEnWxrT/monkeys.jpg
  • - Golden Ratio: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_P745TQBMLNk/SgWqeSRzaeI/AAAAAAAAAb0/FNveExkdSAg/s400/golden-ratio.jpg
  • - The Secret of Success: http://www.ringbrothershistory.com/Columns/column%2047_files/image002.jpg
  • - Seven: http://sciconrev.org/uploads/2007/04/cov_memory.gif
  • - Zero: http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/zero.0.jpg

Sources:

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio
  • http://www.infoniac.com/science/it-takes-10,000-hours-of-practice-to-become-a-genius.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven,_Plus_or_Minus_Two
  • http://www.etymonline.com/zero.php
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